How to teach children about saving

Today is the boy’s first day at secondary school. He looked really tiny and young, surrounded by all those towering teenagers drifting into school. He refused to take his mobile phone in because he’s too scared he will lose it which kind of defeats the object, really. I expect most of the stationery...
Continue reading
  0 Comments

Great British Bake Off: make it or fake it?

I do love our obsession in the UK with Bake Off. There might be nutters overseas threatening our lives with their fingers poised over the nuclear weapons launch button, but what do we care when there’s cake on the telly? The pound is collapsing against the Euro, the government is in disarray but wha...
Continue reading
  0 Comments

Back to school: for me too...

We survived! Two months of school holidays are nearly up and I am neither totally bankrupt nor insane: pretty good going, I’d say. But it’s a close run thing with the finances. What with a holiday, tennis and football courses; days out; the enormous extra quantities of food – 11 year old boys are fe...
Continue reading
  0 Comments

Give me a break...

I'm taking a break until after the August Bank Holiday - otherwise all those name tapes will never get sewn into the new uniform.... See you later this month.
  0 Comments

Mortgages: five reasons why you should sort yours NOW

Good news: figures just out show that the number of mortgages in arrears is at the lowest level since the data was first collected in 1994. This is mainly thanks to the current bargain basement mortgage rates. But if you’re a homebuyer now is not the time to be complacent: you should sort out your m...
Continue reading
  0 Comments

Going to university? Time to start saving

If you’ve got an 18 year old then I bet you’re not looking forward to next Thursday. For the unaffected, that’s when A level results are out. I can still remember the tension of going to get my A level results and that was back in the dim and distant 1980s. That was when a university education, if n...
Continue reading
  0 Comments

Airport delays: get there early or risk losing out

Apparently 10 million people will be going through European airports this weekend, heading for the sun or returning home after their holidays. And they will probably have spent quite a lot of their vacation time in queues at the airports. It is all down to EU airports inside the Schengen zone – whic...
Continue reading
  0 Comments

Why you should self-insure your appliances

My dishwasher has packed up. It is about six years old and for some reason it won’t even turn on let alone wash stuff. To be honest, I’m not sure I miss it too much – yet. First of all, aren’t dishwashers the needy males of the appliance world? They need salt, rinse aid, dishwasher powder, regular c...
Continue reading
  0 Comments

PPI: are you missing out on compensation?

I find it a bit surprising that the whole PPI thing is still going on. This is a scandal that seems to have been around for ever. If there is anyone out there who hasn’t heard of it, PPI is payment protection insurance. If you took out a loan, mortgage or credit card in the past then there’s a chanc...
Continue reading
  0 Comments

Kids in a sweet shop: how to keep control of spending

The boy is off to senior school in September. He will be walking to and from school past a chip shop, several sweet shops, a bakery and numerous cafes. The boy and his friends have already planned how they are going to gorge themselves on carbs on the way home: so much so that one of his friends has...
Continue reading
  0 Comments

Teaching an old dog new tricks: five ways YOU can learn a new skill

I haven’t taken an exam since I graduated many years ago. Nor have I studied for any qualifications (bar the odd shorthand or typing exam, most of which I failed) since. Wary of letting my brain atrophy, I’m thinking about taking a course starting in the autumn. As yet, I can’t decide whether I want...
Continue reading
  0 Comments

Reasons to be cheerful part 1: pensions and gin

Good news seldom comes in brown envelopes. But I got a welcome missive this week from the Department of Work & Pensions: the result of my state pension forecast I requested a few weeks ago. Apparently, I am due the full state pension of £159.55 a week (I assume this will rise over time) from my ...
Continue reading
  0 Comments

Why loyalty cards aren't worth the bother

There’s a really irritating advert for Nationwide on TV at the moment which involves a woman rabbiting on (vaguely in rhyme) about how she learnt about loyalty from her granny etc. To me loyalty is about what you owe to particular friends, family members and lovers. It doesn’t involve commercial con...
Continue reading
  0 Comments

Five reasons why you should sort your mortgage out NOW

When I first took out a mortgage back in the 1990s I opted for a fixed rate at 7.75% and it looked – and indeed was – a great deal. Today, of course, that looks ridiculously expensive but then interest rates have been really low for ten years. That, however, doesn’t mean you should assume your mortg...
Continue reading
  0 Comments

No Sky broadband: will I be compensated?

I was one of the estimated 32,000 Sky broadband customers in the south east who lost their service for 24 hours from Wednesday to Thursday. Apparently this was due to a workman cutting accidentally through the cables miles from here. This was a return to the dark ages: no internet – how could I chec...
Continue reading
  0 Comments

Home insurance: worth five minutes research

My house insurance is up for renewal. A few things first: I live in one of the safest postcodes in the country, in a conventionally-built house not near water or other hazards, with good locks and with the house occupied day and night. And I’ve not claimed on home insurance for going on 20 years at ...
Continue reading
  0 Comments

When to fake it... and when not to

I am a self-confessed tightwad. But I am also by nature a rule-follower and if someone – or some company – tells me to do something (and plasters on the threats for not doing it) I do it. But for some things, it’s just not worth it. Take my printer, for example. It didn’t cost me a great deal – it w...
Continue reading
  0 Comments

State pension: what will I get?

My head is no longer in the sand – I am going to get a state pension forecast. And so should you. Here’s why and how. Most women have fractured work records, often thanks to breaks from paid employment to care for children or elderly relatives. And this can mean that they won’t get the full state pe...
Continue reading
  0 Comments

How to fill the kids' summer holiday break on the cheap

It feels like a throwback to an earlier age but there is still a summer season – racing at Ascot, Wimbledon, the Summer Exhibition, Henley Regatta and ending up with the Last Night of the Proms. It’s a festival of posh frocks, sport and copious quantities of alcohol – and demanding similarly large a...
Continue reading
  0 Comments

Festival finance: wet wipes yes, credit card no for Glastonbury 2017

I am glad I have a few years yet before the boy wants to go off to a festival: time enough, perhaps, for a bit of aversion therapy. I don’t rate my chances. It seems almost compulsory for teenagers to risk Weil’s disease/dysentery/drug or alcohol poisoning while ‘enjoying’ standing in a field miles ...
Continue reading
  0 Comments